Portland Oregon Garage Conversion Question

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Leviethan
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Portland Oregon Garage Conversion Question

Post by Leviethan » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:22 pm

Hey fellow Portlanders,

I've been working from home for two and a half years, and I'm getting to the point that I REALLY need a dedicated office space. I've also been playing music and recording since the mid 90s. I'm finally amassing enough gear to be able to record a full band without going anywhere or borrowing anything. I want to turn my garage into an office/studio. It already has power, so I just need to insulate, and put up walls and a floor.

I'm wondering if I need to get a permit from the city to do this work? This will not be an ADU, it will strictly be an office and creative space. Anybody have experience with this and have any advice?

Thanks!
Leviethan

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losthighway
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Post by losthighway » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:01 pm

Start with your city gov website. Look at zoning, and regulations from the building department. What you want to do might be something you permit and deal with inspections, or something that is against code, so you can only do it on the sly which is illegal. No one has ever played music in an illegal building so there's no way I'm advocating for that (*hides*).

Leviethan
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Post by Leviethan » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:35 am

I've been looking at the zoning web pages, but everything is in reference to building an ADU. This won't be livable space.
Leviethan

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:41 am

I'm looking at the same thing here in Toronto. I've got a detached, backyard brick garage that I'm planing to insulate and turn into my mix room. I have no plan to do loud tracking there so I'll likely just insulate for heat (not soundproof) and upgrade the electrical.
i went through a round of talking to the city about it. It was the classic bureaucratic situation where one office refers you to another, that one to another and so on until you end up back where you started with no answers provided. After reading through all the city zoning/building code info I could find I discovered that I may not need a building permit. It all comes down to the door. If the usage of the door changes - from door to wall or window then that's a change of use for the building and as far as I can tell zoning laws come into play. If the door stays (or is replaced with doors more suitable for my plans) then the garage is still a garage, just an insulated and heated one. My plan at the moment is to insulate, drywall and heat the space and replace the door with some kind of bifold glass or wood door.
I think I'll need a permit to upgrade the electrical but should be ok on the rest.
I have no idea if any of this stuff would apply to your situation in Portland but I suggest reading up on the city's zoning and change of use bylaws.

Leviethan
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Post by Leviethan » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:52 am

Argh, that sucks. I'm going to replace the garage door with a wall and a regular door. I COULD theoretically keep it as a garage door and just cover the inside with insulation, but it would be a giant pain in the ass to get in and out. The only thing I would change with the electrical is where the plugs are.
Leviethan

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:36 pm

Like I said, I have no idea if the rules are the same where you are. I'm not even 100% sure that the rules here are what I think they are. That's just the best sense I could make out of what I was reading.
I talked to city hall a bit but it was so frustrating that I backed off.

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Nick Sevilla
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Post by Nick Sevilla » Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:45 am

Yep,

Look at your city ordinances.

Specifically, what needs a permit, and what can be unpermitted.

Your room "might" be allowed to be done unpermitted. However, your city will be different than mine.

We did ours in Los Angeles, and it did not need permits. We did use a contractor for the heavier work, and for the electrical, to be SURE it could pass code inspection, should we get a sudden unexpected visit.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

Leviethan
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Post by Leviethan » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:52 am

OK. I'll check into it, but I suspect I won't need a permit. I'm not doing anything major.
Leviethan

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